[podcast] Half Megapixel Limit: A Wider Angle Will Enable Better Microbiome Care

July 12, 2017 | Contact Author | By: Rachel Grabenhofer with Larry Weiss, M.D., AOBiome
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Keywords: podcast | AOBiome | Larry Weiss | wide angle view | microbiome | technology | 16S | tools | sampling | sequencing

Abstract: "Tools for sampling and sequencing continue to advance," says Larry Weiss, M.D., AOBiome. "16S is the basis for which we look at phylogenies ... [but] do you remember when your phone had like a half a megapixel camera? That’s sort of where we are today."

Editor's note: In part two of our three-part podcast series, Larry Weiss, M.D., chief medical officer of AOBiome, explores technical innovations supporting the advancement of microbiome skin care. Part I pointed to consumers' health concerns as a major driver behind rising interest in this sector. Part III will briefly address formulation considerations for microbiome skin care.   

"It’s interesting to look at how we got here," says Larry Weiss, M.D., of AOBiome. "The beginning determines the end. We decided to sequence the human genome and got tools through sequencing and the microbiome instead. Kennedy decided to go to the moon and we got the Internet, and more. Prediction is very difficult when it concerns the future.

"What I can tell you is we suddenly realize the complexity of these ecosystems, which are at every one of our interfacial surfaces, whether it’s the gut, skin, lungs, vaginal area or oral cavity and each one of these is an incredibly complex system.

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Editor's note: In part two of our three-part podcast series, Larry Weiss, M.D., chief medical officer of AOBiome (parent company to Mother Dirt), explores technical innovations supporting the advancement of microbiome skin care. Part I pointed to consumers' health concerns as a major driver behind rising interest in this sector. Part III will briefly address formulation considerations for microbiome skin care.   

"It’s interesting to look at how we got here," says Larry Weiss, M.D., of AOBiome. "The beginning determines the end. We decided to sequence the human genome and got tools through sequencing and the microbiome instead. Kennedy decided to go to the moon and we got the Internet, and more. Prediction is very difficult when it concerns the future.

"What I can tell you is we suddenly realize the complexity of these ecosystems, which are at every one of our interfacial surfaces, whether it’s the gut, skin, lungs, vaginal area or oral cavity and each one of these is an incredibly complex system.

"The closer we look, the more we realize [that rather than taking a] reductionistic way of going into it, we need to constantly go into much wider angle view to look at the host and the system together.

"What's very exciting is the tools for sampling and sequencing continue to advance. 16S [gene sequencing] is the basis for which we look at phylogenies today ... [but] do you remember when your phone had like a half a megapixel camera? And you could tell they were people, you just couldn’t tell who they were? That’s sort of where we are with this today.

"We’re going to need to understand not just who's there, but what genes are being transcribed, what proteins are being made and what metabolic chemistry is going on. Then we can start to build an incredibly complex, data-driven model so when we decide we are going to 'perturb' [the microbiome] in some way, we get a better sense of what the longer-term complications will be."

Listen the the full podcast now. (Continue to Part III.)